Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, June 5
Let Us Always Remain Vigilant and Prayerful, Imploring Our Heavenly Father’s Loving Protection Against the Evil Seductions from Satan.
We hear in today’s Gospel, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.” And we hear Paul saying to the presbyters who will be watching over the flock of faithful Christians at Ephesus, “…be vigilant…”
The Word of God which we hear each day is a Living Word which can impact our lives in countless ways. And each one of us who listens to the Word, and reflects upon it, can be affected differently.
That is why you can have a dozen different homilists read the same verses of Scripture, and they will create a dozen different homilies, because each one will feel something different but special from what he reads – because God’s Spirit will speak to the heart of each homilist in a different way.
That is because the Word of God is living and vibrant. God’s Truth NEVER changes, but His Word grows as we grow, for it truly is a Living Word! And the Holy Spirit will touch each of us as He wills regarding His Truth!
When I first read the Scriptures in order to prepare this particular “Meditation for the Day”, imploring the Holy Spirit to guide my mind and my heart, so as to make the Scriptures more relevant to each of us in our daily lives, the one thing which stood out at me – basically, to be truthful about it, the one thing that “screamed” out at me – is the very real existence of evil in our world!
Satan, himself, personifies evil, along with his legions of demonic creatures, all who, as the Scriptures tell us, were expelled from Heaven eons ago, and they were sentenced to an eternity without God. It was their free will, and the pride and arrogance which resulted from that free will, which set them against God, and they were expelled from Heaven – a Heaven which God created for them and for us, and they were expelled to the Hell which is now their eternal abode.
I will admit that, in today’s culture, we do not hear Satan spoken about very much from the pulpit any more, since clergy, for the most part, try to keep their homilies upbeat and positive (and whether this is good or bad is a topic for another discussion), but the existence of Satan IS very real nonetheless, and the evil influence which he and his army of demons exert on human beings, with our free will choices and our consciences, is also very real!
And it is this theme of evil in our world today – especially our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel, “…keep them from the evil one” – which seemed to scream out at me, and that we are always, I repeat always, to remain vigilant!
In our first reading, Paul is concluding his farewell address to the presbyters from the Church of Ephesus. He warns them about the certainty that “…savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.”
And he goes on to say, “And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant…”
Paul knew that God’s work would come under attack from both outside and from within the Church. And do we not see this happening even today in the world in which we live? – our Church being attacked from both outside elements and from within – from all the secular elements within the world, and also from those members of clergy and religious who have lost their way and have been seduced into attacking that which they once held sacred!
Our psalmist today seems to be echoing the prayer of Paul for the growing Church at Ephesus, and also the prayer of Jesus for His Apostles, who were to become the pillars of the new Church, “Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues His “high priestly prayer” to His Father, asking for the protection which His disciples will need after He is gone. “When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
And then Jesus goes on to say, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.”
Jesus knew, just as Paul did, that there are elements within the world in which we all live which do not recognize or are even an enemy to the teachings of Christ. Jesus basically summed it all up with these words: “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
Again, we are reminded of the words of Paul, “…be vigilant…” – sound advice for each of us, especially when we try to live the beatitudes which Christ taught us, especially when we try to live a more virtuous life, so that we may love more selflessly and become all that God is asking of us.
The prince of this world, who is Satan, has seduced many peoples in so many different walks of life, be they heads-of-state or politicians, international ambassadors, those who uphold the laws of justice, clergy and religious who have lost their way, even the average person on the street like you and me.
And those who have allowed themselves to be seduced often end up belittling, mocking or ridiculing if you will, our Christian way of life and all that we hold dear, and the Truths which our faith has taught us for almost two millennia, 2,000 years!
For those of us who make a free will choice to place Christ at the very center of our hearts, we must always remain vigilant, for the evil one knows where we are most vulnerable! He knows when it is best to strike! He knows when we are at our weakest!
However, our greatest defense against his assaults is prayer – a very simple word, but a very powerful and effective tool. Prayer is what keeps our relationship alive and growing with Jesus Christ. Prayer is what keeps our faith strong, for prayer from the heart weakens the evil in this world which surrounds us.
It is prayer, from a truly humbled and contrite heart, which becomes the key to unshackling the chains which bind us to the slavery of sin.
What did our First Reading tell us before Paul boarded his ship? “He knelt down and prayed with them all.” And in the Gospel, Jesus is continuously praying to His Father for His protection upon His disciples, and all those who would follow in their teachings – both you and me.
Jesus is our Hope. He is our Life. And His Mercy is infinitely greater than the strongest evil or the greatest sin! Satan and all his demons from Hell cringe in fear at the very name of Jesus, especially when we profess our faith in His Most Holy Name from the very depths of our hearts, especially when we implore His Divine Mercy upon ourselves and upon the whole world!
For as Paul tells us in his Letter to the Philippians, “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
May we always remain vigilant, always remain prayerful, imploring our Heavenly Father’s loving protection upon ourselves and upon all those whom we love, just as our Lord prayed for all those whom He loved when He was still in this world.
To all His children, our Lord says, “You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” And may we always remain confident in our Lord’s promise which He made to each and every one of us so long ago –
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Keep watch over yourselves…savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant…” (Acts 20:28a, 29b-31a)
- “When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all.” (Acts 20:36)
- “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
- “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” (John 17:14)
- “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
- “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
- “Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
- “He said to his disciples, ‘Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard!’” (Luke 17:1-3a)
- “So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8a)
- “You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1b)
- “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly and Eternal Father,
help me to live my life as it pleases Your Divine will.
Assist me to recognize You in all whom I meet,
and to live the virtues which our holy faith espouses.
“But many are the seductions and lies which assault me;
many are the temptations which weaken my resolve;
for the prince of this world disguises himself as an angel of light,
entrapping many who fall victim to his wiles and deceptions.
“It is Satan who spreads seeds of disruption,
stealing souls who rightfully belong to You!
Please give me Your Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen me,
keeping me safe from all that would destroy my soul.
“It is You, Almighty God, whom I desire in life and for eternity;
it is Your Love with which I wish to be forever embraced.
I pray, save me from the snares of the evil one,
and I shall be found praising the wonders of Your Glory forever. Amen.”Anonymous